Challenge your thinking to get your business to the top


Business Leader Columnist Feature - Rob Perks

You will often hear football fans of middling clubs, content with staying where they are, lament that the chairman has appointed a ‘yes man’ as manager.

Or the manager has surrounded himself with a bunch of ‘yes men’ on his coaching staff.

The inference being that the incumbents are only in place as they won’t rock the boat and challenge the status quo, meaning the club can drift along in mid-table obscurity and just keep ticking over.

Indeed, most of us will have developed a circle of people who we like to work with and who we feel comfortable with.

But while it’s nice to be surrounded by people who support you and look at things the same way as you do, you need healthy conflict and differing perspectives to increase your success.

Because agreeable people may boost your confidence, but they won’t necessarily boost your business.

Innovate and challenge your thinking

As a business leader, it can be hard to create an environment in which people will feel like they can freely challenge. But shaking things up can significantly contribute to business growth.

As an example, you may be good at coming up with different ideas for your business, such as a new business strategy, developing a new service or launching into a different market.

To you, they might sound fantastic. However, unless you have people who will challenge those ideas and point out what doesn’t work then you will ultimately never get where you’re going.

Identify where you are stale

Although tough to do, you might need to do some self-assessment to determine where you have become stale in your thinking and approach.

You may need to start by encouraging your current network to help you identify your blind spots.

Or, maybe your current network is the problem. Ask yourself if your contacts are the same ones you’ve had for years? Are they all in the same industry?

If the answers are ‘yes’ then it could be time to shake things up.

Take advice on board

Finding the right people with the business expertise and experience you need isn’t easy but appointing a board of Non-Executive Directors could be of real value.

A good board will point out any flaws in your business plan as they don’t have the same ownership as you, so will see things more clearly.

And they will put new eyes on your business that will more than likely see new ways of doing things and provide you with new ideas you need to hear to encourage you to change things and start doing things differently.

Your new board members will also bring their own circle of contacts to the table, who may be valuable for the development of your business or particularly helpful to individual projects.

Having nobody to challenge you might keep your business drifting along, but it won’t help you improve and get to the top.

Inspire has recently launched its ‘Inspired Board,’ a virtual board service providing access to a carefully selected group of Non-Executive Directors at an affordable cost. To find out more, contact Inspire on 01172 034288 or email via

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